Accidental Camping Bag

I guess this counts as a box... she jumped in as soon as I unzipped it

I guess this counts as a box… she jumped in as soon as I unzipped it

On Easter, as I was showing off my Prius C to my family of Ford Grand Marquis owners, my nephew asked about the handful of survival supplies I had in the trunk; notably a telescoping fishing rod and a small folding chair backpack with Nalgene bottles in the pockets. He asked if I was going camping soon and I somehow came up with the response “no, it’s in case I go camping accidentally” (to which he could come up with several plausible scenarios; he’s a smart kid).

As I continue outfitting the bag (and a duplicate bag to keep in the other car) the term has stuck, which I like more than “bug out bag” or “survival kit”. I’ve tested a few supplies at home and in the wild already and will eventually list and review them here, starting with the chair/bag itself.

Disclaimer: I’m 5’6″ and my gear is intentionally minimal. The chair’s weight limit is in the low 200’s. Larger individuals my find this too small.

As a chair, it’s fairly simple. It doesn’t have a back, but it’s not the end of the world. You’re not going to nap or read in it for an extended period of time, but it does get you off the ground when you need to focus on activities like readying fishing tackle or sewing. One advantage to not having a back to the chair is you can sit on it either way. I prefer having the supports and backpack off to my side like a director’s chair. Chairs with backs “force” them in front and behind you.

As a backpack, it’s very wearable, at least on my frame. One nice feature that the chair adds to the usefulness as a backpack is that you can open the chair and it actually makes the backpack contents easier to access, rather than more difficult. The side pockets for water bottles are sized large enough to hold Nalgene bottles with steel cups on them (reviews for those coming eventually). The 48 oz bottles are almost as tall as the backpack so I hold the tops in place with a silicone hair tie, but I’m sure a lightweight carabiner would work well too and be easier to undo.

The backpack has a flap compartment that goes over the whole thing. It’s thin and can hold something flat-ish like an iPad mini or Kindle Paperwhite, but I just keep a few large freezer bags in it to increase the water resistance of the pack below it. Putting anything in this compartment, even the minuscule Kindle, makes the pack harder to get into. That’s why I prefer to use it just as a flap.

My goal is a for a filled pack (without water in the bottles but including the weight of itself, including the chair) to be well under 20 lbs, and so far that’s been vey easy, especially if you cheat and take the heavy multi tool out and put it on your belt.